People often ask me, “do you think I need counseling?” This is a hard question to answer. If someone tells you “you need counseling” it can make you feel that your problems must be really bad. The decision to see a private counselor is always a matter of individual choice rather than something you “must” do.
A better question is, “might I benefit from trying counseling?” Many people, whatever their situation, have found counseling extremely helpful. It tends to be more useful, more effective and more successful if you have chosen to come because it feels like the right thing for you, rather than someone else telling you to go because you ‘need’ counseling.
Perhaps you have been thinking about having counseling for a while. Some days you feel down and feel like you need to speak to someone as soon as possible. Then the next day you feel fine and the thought of calling a counselor goes away. But the issues that made you feel low are still there and you inevitably feel worse again in a few days’ time.
What stops you from going ahead and making an appointment? Are you feeling apprehensive about seeing a counselor for the first time? Also, it can be hard to accept you might need help. Asking for help can make the problem seem more real: you can’t pretend it’s all OK so easily.
If you’ve not had counseling before you may have questions about what it involves. You may feel unsure about committing your time and money to see a counselor when you don’t know much about counseling and whether it will help. Hopefully this can begin to answer some of your questions.
Counseling might be helpful for you if…
- Things are getting on top of you, and affecting your well-being, for example, causing depression, anxiety or stress
- Something has been troubling you over a period of time and you’re having difficulty finding a solution on your own
- You find it hard to talk to friends or family because they are directly involved in the issues
- Issues from the past are having an impact on your day to day life
- Things that are troubling you are having a negative impact on your relationships or work
Counseling can help you reflect and make sense of difficult life events and find a way to move forward. Some of the benefits are…
- Talking to someone neutral, outside of your immediate situation, can show you a different perspective and help you find a way forward
- Talking with a trained counselor who is skilled at listening can help you to process difficult thoughts and feelings
- Sharing your worries helps you feel less alone with the problem
- You can gain a better understanding of yourself and a clearer sense of what you want and need
- You can practice communicating more clearly and honestly in the safety of the counseling relationship
- Counseling can help improve your relationships and your ability to communicate
If you’re still not sure, the best way for things to become clearer is to book an initial session with a counselor. That way you can find out more about how counseling works and the counselor can help you decide if it would be useful for your particular situation.
Hope this helps